Alibaba Group location in Hangzhou

Alibaba Cloud’s new Gen AI course to support digital talent development, make AI more accessible

As artificial intelligence (AI) advances with blistering speed, Alibaba Cloud has announced a new course to equip individuals with new skill sets to harness emerging technology with a focus on generative AI.

In a report from Channel Asia, the cloud service provider will adopt a global outlook in training new AI professionals, a step further from its regional focus. Dubbed the Alibaba Cloud Certified Associate (ACA) Generative AI Engineer course, the course is expected to equip as many as 20,000 persons with AI skills before the end of the year.

A close look at the course outline reveals a focus on the fundamentals of generative AI before delving into the intricacies of large language models (LLMs) and other branches of natural language processing.

Learners will be introduced to other complex concepts including encoder-decoders, retrieval-augmented generation, and generative adversarial networks in six months. Upon completion, participants will receive an ACA certificate, laying the foundation for a healthy talent pool for AI firms.

Despite the global outlook of the course, learners appear limited to the deployment of generative AI applications on cloud platforms native to Alibaba (NASDAQ: BABAF).

“Our ACA Generative AI Engineer course aims to help customers, partners, developers and users of various backgrounds globally to really unlock that potential and drive tomorrow’s digital agenda,” Alibaba Cloud Intelligence international business President Selina Yuan said.

In recent months, Alibaba has been staking its claim in the AI ecosystem, taking on industry heavyweights head-on with its models. At the tail end of last year, the company launched Tongyi Qianwen, its LLM tailored for the Chinese market, before rolling out two lite versions of the offering.

Following the appointment of new CEO Eddie Wu, the company is placing AI at the top of its priorities, confirming plans to be “AI-driven” and “user-first.” The conglomerate has previously invested in blockchain technology, quantum computing, and Big Data but appears to have been backing the AI horse in recent months.

“Over the next decade, the most significant change agent will be the disruptions brought about by AI across all sectors,” said Wu, hinting at larger investments in the space. “If we don’t keep up with the changes of the AI era, we will be displaced.”

Leaving a trail across Southeast Asia

Since Alibaba Cloud began investing in educational initiatives, over 60,000 individuals have received AI training, with the bulk of this figure living in Southeast Asia. The firm launched a training hub in Singapore before striking a partnership with the Universiti Malaya in early 2024.

Last year, the company debuted in Thailand by collaborating with Chulalongkorn University to set up a Skill Center to offer residents advanced AI courses. A partnership with the University of Hong Kong has led to the launch of a training hub with the company extending its reach to Indonesia and Europe.

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